Lost and Found in New Mexico

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Search and Rescue mission...

Around noon yesterday I was called by the Area Commander and asked to work a mission out of my district. I agreed and started getting my gear together as well as calling teams out. We were looking for an older man with Alzheimers who had wandered away the day before (the 19th) about 1600 hours. The family had spent the evening looking for him but by daylight realized they needed more help. Because it was out of my district it was about a 3 hour drive to base camp. About 30 minutes before I got to base camp I got a call saying the man had been located and was in good condition. Thank God!
There are some interesting things about subjects with Alzheimers. A big one is that they wander. That is why many care facilities for these types of patients have elaborate locks and alarm systems. The other thing I find fascinating is that for some reason when they wander they go way back in their past and several times subjects have been located in places where they used to live or work. We had a search for an older man who drove 75 miles from a big city to his old homestead, got out of the car, found his old home and the schoolhouse where he had taught and located his wife's grave. But when he tried to get back to his car he got totally turned around and unfortunately, even after days of searching, his body was located several miles in the opposite direction about 3 weeks later by a horse team doing a training in the area.

So, yesterday was a good day and a great miracle. It was very hot in the day, but the nighttime was warm, not cold and that helped him to survive.
We did not use this helicopter in the search yesterday, but it was available to us if we had needed it. This picture is from a previous search where we used the National Guard helicopter to hoist 2 woman and their sweet, little pit bull out of a very remote area.


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